New anti-HIV drug target identified

December 18, 2013

University of Minnesota researchers have discovered a first-of-its-kind series of compounds possessing anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activity. The compounds present a new target for potential HIV drug development and future treatment options.

Complete findings are printed in today's issue of the Journal of Virology.

The compounds, known as ribonucleoside analogs 8-azaadenosine, formycin A, 3-deazauridine, 5-fluorocytidine and 2'-C-methylcytidine, were found to stop the replication and spread of HIV by blocking HIV DNA synthesis or by inducing lethal mutagenesis. Lethal mutagenesis annihilates HIV by causing it to mutate to the point of extinction.

The compound 3-deazauridine stopped HIV by creating so many mutations in the virus that the virus was no longer able to spread throughout the body by infecting other cells. The other compounds caused early termination of HIV DNA synthesis, again preventing the virus from being able to reproduce. Studies prior to this one determined certain ribonucleosides analogs impact HIV DNA synthesis, a process called reverse transcription. The extent to which they worked was not previously known.

"It's a counterintuitive finding," said University of Minnesota virologist Louis Mansky, Ph.D. "These ribonucleoside analogs were not generally thought to be associated with affecting HIV DNA synthesis – a critical step in . We don't yet know all the details for how these particular stop the in its path."

The research, if translatable, will provide a potentially cost-effective and fresh treatment option to counter HIV's rapid evolution and treat HIV resistance to currently approved anti-HIV drugs. Anti-HIV ribonucleoside analogs are less expensive to create in a laboratory than deoxyribonucleoside analogs, which are key in drugs currently used to stop HIV replication and cell spread. Additionally, the similarity of ribonucleoside analogs to deoxyribonucleosides may help speed up the development process to make full use of this target as a wealth of understanding around ribonucleoside analogs already exists.

Explore further: Viral replication may not be primary cause of HIV-1 persistence in patients receiving cART

Related Stories

France okays home tests for HIV

November 7, 2013

Self-testing HIV kits will go on sale in France next year under a strategy aimed at reducing the spread of the virus causing AIDS, Health Minister Marisol Touraine said on Thursday.

New target to fight HIV infection identified

October 1, 2013

A mutant of an immune cell protein called ADAP (adhesion and degranulation-promoting adaptor protein) is able to block infection by HIV-1 (human immunodeficiency virus 1), new University of Cambridge research reveals. The ...

Recommended for you

S.Africa launches major new trial of AIDS vaccine

November 29, 2016

South Africa on Wednesday launched a major clinical trial of an experimental vaccine against the AIDS virus, which scientists hope could be the "final nail in the coffin" for the disease.

HIV survives in our chromosomal DNA

November 17, 2016

It has been said that HIV cannot be cured since the virus propagates in places beyond the reach of antiviral agents. New research from Karolinska Institutet suggests, however, that this view is incorrect.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.